TCW - Jobs, Money & Opinion

Getting Media to Say "Yes" Requires the Right Approach

On the air, small, 935975197_817efaf0c6_m.jpg

You may be so busy "getting social" through social media that you've overlooked a powerful way to get exposure for your business: tried-and-true traditional media.

Newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets are still alive, influential and receptive to a good story and reach in a single stroke far more readers, listeners or viewers than the average tweet or blog posting. The key to success is in your approach.

Bill Moller, host of a popular Saturday morning show on WGN radio, says he hates cookie-cutter pitches and can recognize them in a heartbeat. He responds to a great subject line, a succinct and convincing story angle, and a demonstration that you understand what he's looking for in a guest or topic.

Bill has 16 slots to fill each week, so he's always looking for guests. If you'd like to be one of them, here's the scoop.

  1. Do your homework. Before you type one word of your e-pitch, listen to some of Bill's recent interviews which are posted on WGN's website.
  2. Use social media to connect. Bill is active on LinkedIn; mention my name for an immediate "connection." You can pitch him on LinkedIn, or better yet, send an email at bmoller@wgnradio.com.
  3. Spend 60 percent of your time writing a captivating subject line. The other 40 percent goes into your killer 3-4 paragraph pitch. For Bill (and most other reporters), that pitch better not be generic.
  4. Understand what's really important to the person you are pitching. A newspaper guy or gal won't care about the sound of your voice but Bill does. A raspy voice or lisp can be a knock-out factor. For Bill, projecting a passion for your subject carries slightly more weight than your knowledge about the subject matter. Not so with a print journalist who may care more about your knowledge and expertise.
  5. Follow-up call: yes or no? Bill tries to dispatch every communication with a question/suggestion, booking or rejection. He doesn't want you to ever wonder and wait. If he should fail to respond, email him again. No phone calls please.
  6. Just say yes. If Bill, or any reporter for that matter, responds to your pitch, be available. As in, right now. That may mean postponing a meeting, a vacation or even changing the date of your daughter's bas mitzvah (kidding).
  7. Can you bring along notes?  Bill says, no way. He likes spontaneity, not recitation from a script. But you CAN bring along your camera. Bill will pose in a picture, and you're welcome to post it on your blog or Facebook fan page.
  8. Follow up. There's nothing that says thanks like a thank-you note to the person who gave you ink or air time. For Bill, it can be an email with a link to your blog where the photo is posted.

Unless you've worked with the media, this approach may seem time-consuming, even daunting, but it works. Trust me. You CAN have your 15 (or merely 5) minutes of fame. It's there for the asking.

Image by Cindy Funk, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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1 Comment

Terri Ryan said:

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Great information for us all who are looking for exposure for our business and/or brand. It's amazing just how much time we spend on Facebook/Twitter rather than taking time to research the shows we want to be featured on! There are no shortcuts. Spend time perfecting a great pitch and know who your audience is! Thanks for sharing, Chris. You are "spot-on" as always!

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